SPRING BLOCK I - VENICE
Venice is a city, major seaport, and capital of both the province of Venezia and the region of Veneto, in northern Italy. An island city, it was once the center of a maritime republic until its fall in 1797. It was the greatest seaport in late medieval Europe and the continent’s commercial and cultural link with Asia. Venice is a unique city from an environmental, architectural, and historic point of view, hence its nickname “La Serenissima” (the most serene or sublime). The city has played an important role in the Western world through the arts. The spectacle of decorated marbled and frescoed palaces, bell towers, and domes reflected in the shimmering waters of the lagoon has been painted, photographed and represented for centuries. Today Venice is recognized as part of the artistic and architectural patrimony of all humanity, a fitting role for a city whose thousand-year economic and political independence was sustained by its role in global trading. In 1987 Venice and its lagoon were collectively designated a UNESCO site.
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The Rialto Bridge is one of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice. It is the oldest bridge across the canal and was the dividing line for the districts of San Marco and San Polo. It has been rebuilt several times since its first construction as a pontoon bridge in the 12th century and is now a significant tourist attraction in the city.